Red Right 88

Cleveland sports fan and sports writer

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

quit my job decided to drive west

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Being a fan has nothing to do with going to games

It has been three weeks since I have last posted. I keep starting to write something then end up erasing it.

Things are going so well for the Indians. I really don't want to nitpick or complain. Honestly besides Hafner and Sizemore and a few of the pieces part veterans whose value isn't meant on the field as much as for off the field, everyone is having a career year.

My one pet peeve is the constant bitching about the attendance. Here is my view. I was at the June 1 game against the Tigers. It was the day after LeBron's amazing game five and the day before what was the biggest game in Cavs history. It was also fireworks night and dollar dog night. The place was packed with over 40,000 people.

I would estimate that maybe 5,000 of those people had actually watched the fourth quarter and overtime the night before. It was a different crowd, these were not sports fans they were people who occasionally head out to the ball park for entertainment. The hot dogs and fireworks meant more than the game. Sure they preferred the Indians would win but it wasn't a major issue for the amount of fun they expected. In the top of the ninth when the Tribe needed a lift, the crowd was too busy doing the wave.

Barry Bonds paints this very clearly as well. The media and the talk shows tell us he is the most hated man in America. The fans just want to see home runs and voted him in. The media's reaction to this is to say there must be a conspiracy afoot.

The truth is the people who call in to talk radio shows are not the people who fill up stadiums. Be honest, if you remember the glory days of the Jake-- the crowds were always full but they were only good ones when the game was on the line or in the ninth. Mostly they had to be told what to do. The gory days of the old stadium had 10,000 diehards for the most part too but filled up for opening day and fireworks as well. The sellout streak at the Jake was because of supply and demand. People knew if you didn't buy early then you couldn't go at all. Now you can wait until the day of the game and let the weather dictate whether you go or stay home.

If the Indians make the playoffs then next year will sell out. The team has only themselves to blame for this year's attendance. They missed out in 2005 and messed up 2006.

But truthfully it doesn't matter. I just can't take anymore media members who get free passes bitch and moan why other people won't spend money. Truthfully since I can't afford great tickets when I go I usually sit in the cheap seats and often the experience is marred by those who aren't there for the game. I would rather live and die from my couch or bar stool drinking cheap beer instead of way too expensive stuff.

Honestly many of the people who go to the games are not the true fans. They are families on outings and corporations hosting clients. The true fans are the ones who listen every night to Tom Hamilton in nursing homes or TIVO the games while they work the third shift. Going to the games and being a fan of the team are not the same thing and I am tired of the media painting it that way.